Journalism in the service of society

Nigerians seek cultural change for national development

FOR Nigeria to work, citizens must imbibe a cultural change. This was the submission by guests at Naija Times’ third Diaspora Conversations held recently with the theme: ‘Cultural Transformation: An Imperative for National Development’. The consensus was that there is a decline in the nation’s cultural values and ideals. 

To many Nigerians, the country’s biggest problems are its leaders. The political class is perceived as the enemy. While this notion may not be totally false, the country’s dwindling cultural values are considered the main bane.

Nigeria’s problems ‘cultural’ 

US-based project manager, Nosa Osaikhuiwu, the Executive Director of the African Institute for Cultural and Economic Renaissance (AICER), said from his research, the problem facing Nigeria seems to be growing no matter who the leader is. 

According to him, “I now realise that Nigeria’s problem is cultural.” He defines culture as the norm, tradition and ways of living of a group of people, saying, “From my analysis, I came to the conclusion that if we can change our culture, then Nigeria will work. 

“Although our leaders have their fair share of the blame, the leaders come from the people. When there is an infested cultural phenomenon, the leadership is infested as well. We must embrace cultural change in every aspect of our national lives. “

He advocated for a society where “we no longer enthrone forgiveness but justice and atonement.”

No consequences for actions

Giving a historical background to the subject, Debbie Akindele-Ojo, a fashion and beauty entrepreneur, said African civilisation was rudely interrupted by colonization thus leading to people being forced together. 

“When you have a conglomeration of a multiplicity of cultures and values in a particular location geographically married for reasons best known to the colonialists, it doesn’t work,” she said.

“There is just no consequence for bad behaviour. The judiciary has failed us the most because politicians are not held accountable. We are a very hypocritical religious bunch because we blame the devil for everything. There is no consequence for actions”.

Mindset problem

Taking the academic route, Dr. Charles Omorodion, a UK-based accountant, chartered marketer, and lecturer said culture encapsulates everything that we do. To fix Nigeria, he harped on the need to look at the collective programming of our minds and learn from other nations. 

“We should focus on how to reorient ourselves, our mindset and collectively reprogramme ourselves to think of Nigeria first. We also need to develop workable ethics and values across the fabric of the society, with that, we will be able to transform our nation.”

Everything goes!

On his part, Joe Onyenyili-Onuorah, a marketing communications professional and author said Nigerians have embraced negative cultures such as immunity and lawlessness.

“People can now do anything without consequence,” he lamented. “Right now, indecency and mediocrity are gradually becoming acceptable. We need to reframe the minds of the people to know that what is wrong is wrong.” 

Third Republic, the watershed 

However, to Malam Naseer Kura, former president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), our cultural values have deteriorated since the Third Republic. 

He regrets that all the negative values projected by Nigerians, especially the leaders in global politics were not there in the First and Second Republics. 

“The Third Republic was our watershed,” said the Executive Director of Kano-based NGO, Basic Rights Action. “This civilian administration has negatively impacted and has given the leaders the wrong impression of impunity, corruption, irresponsibility and others. 

“We have lost values.  We only respect wealth whether ill-gotten. We are in a dire crisis and it will take ages to recover. The focus should be on reviving the virtues of honesty, integrity and patriotism.”

The way forward

The discussants agreed that the reintroduction of ethics and values in schools could offer a way out of the present morass. They see this as a way to correct cultural decline, enhance national development, and strengthen the family unit because that is the basis of any society’s moral fibre. 

The state also has its part to play, by strengthening institutions like the police and judiciary. But most importantly, citizens must look in the mirror, therein lies the problem. Nigerians must begin to reward good behaviour and sanction misconduct.

Comments are closed.

Naija Times